2016 Olympian (16th, 200 breaststroke)
200 and 400 Medley Relay champion at 2013 NCAAs
100-yard breast champion at 2012 Short Course Nationals
2015 World University Games team member
3-time Olympic Trials qualifier
Had life played out a bit differently, you might be reading Molly Hannis’ bio on a soccer clinic company site instead of Fitter & Faster. Although she was the daughter of a swimmer, she had two brothers in the sport and dreamt of soccer stardom by the age of five. Those dreams changed at the age of 13, when Molly qualified for her first long course nationals.
It was also around this time that she transitioned from specializing in backstroke to IM and breaststroke – the stroke that would take her to the Division I program of Tennessee and the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Bolstered by her intensive IM training, Hannis covers technicalities spanning every stroke and racing strategy. Breaststroke, in particular, can be difficult for developing swimmers to master.
“Breaststroke technique changes from person to person,” she says of her bread-and-butter stroke. “The fundamentals, however, are generally the same. I’ve watched some of the world’s best breaststrokers and have studied what makes each of them fast.”
Incidentally, she notes, “Each of their individual strengths are some of the things I share with the swimmers I’ve coached.”
In addition to learning from other coaches and swimmers at the top of their game, Hannis has learned from experience how to deal with the ups and downs that naturally come with a long swimming career. She teaches participants how to handle nerves and treat every race as a learning opportunity. For example, she won the 100 breast at her first SEC championships swimming for the Tennessee Volunteers and finished her collegiate career as the fastest female 200-yard breaststroker in the school’s history, clocking a pair of 2:08s her senior year. However, her first international competition did not go as planned. Hannis says that her performances at the 2015 World University Games in Korea yielded more lessons than medals: “I learned how to handle nerves and gained valuable international experience racing some of the best swimmers in the world.”
With her NCAA career complete and international experience under her belt, Hannis looks forward to sharing all of her hard-earned wisdom with participants at Fitter & Faster clinics – especially when it comes to turns and pullouts.
“I want them remember that the key to improvement is to think outside the box and to remain open-minded and flexible when receiving instruction and making adjustments to their stroke. The simple everyday act of pulling yourself out of the pool after practice improves technique: This helps enforce a strong hold on the water during the catch and the pullout.”
Hannis reminds swimmers that there’s one aspect of the sport of which they should never lose sight: “It’s important to always remember to have fun; that’s going to be the key to your long-term success in the sport of swimming.”
Learn how to sharpen critical aspects your strokes and turns at Molly Hannis’ next clinic!